Rescue Me
by Christy Reece
(Ballantine, $6.99, PG) ISBN 978-0-345-50542-2
Christy Reece has created a three book mini-series structured around Last Chance Rescue Enterprises (LCR) which Ballantine is releasing in April, May and June of this year. Rescue Me is the very strong lead off romantic suspense story which sets the tone for what is and is anticipated to be to very memorable reading.

Devon Winters comes from a financially privileged family, controlled by one of the most despicable mothers fiction has to offer. Her stepfather has been the buffer, and in an effort to shield her from her mother, sends her to boarding school. This also removes her from one of her few childhood pleasures, her continuing crush on college age Jordan Montgomery, godchild to her stepfather.

Years later, much changed from her adolescent self, Devon meets Jordan at a dance and is able to seduce him without his knowing her identity. Her mother catches her at the door when she finally returns home. Her mother has been trying to seduce Jordan for years and is in a rage. Devon realizes she must make things right with Jordan, flees her home and goes back to his to confess all. Her mother has already ruined this for her, having immediately called Jordan to tell him Devon is under psychiatric care for this sort of behavior, and for good measure has added additional lies.

Upon arrival, Devon is confronted by an angry and nasty Jordan, and very hurt she flees. Almost at his doorstep, she is captured by two assailants who rape and brutalize her, breaking many bones and cutting her face. She is found, hospitalized and her mother is called to identify her. Devon has a small unusual tattoo on her shoulder, but her mother denies this is her child. Therefore Devon becomes and remains a missing person.

Noah McCall, the mysterious founder of LCR is contacted by a source at the hospital during Devon's recovery period because of her incredible gift of languages and high IQ. He pays for the many plastic surgeries required to rebuild her face and during these recovery periods trains her to become one of the best agents LCR has.

Since college Jordan has been working for a covert US organization but has burned out and resigns. Before settling down he tries one last time to find the Devon who had disappeared seven years ago. He is in Paris and approaches the home office of LCR for help. Devon has become Eden St. Claire and now totally unrecognizable to anyone who had ever known her. Noah is aware of Jordan and his relation to Eden and thinking she must resolve this long standing issue places her in charge of the search. It is up to Eden to either confess or to construct a story of how Devon died.

Eden is also assigned to resolve a slave marketing business. Jordan is enlisted to help Eden in shutting down this operation, as it is thought to be worldwide requiring the efforts of their whole staff.

The great strength of Rescue Me are the multiple and multi layered characters and their interactions with one another. The dialog is impressive, and scenes segue with ease. The sexual tension between Jordan and Eden escalates as she struggles to keep her identity secret from him. The plot is clever but the development of the plot insofar as it relates to the criminal family is not as strong. Nonetheless the former outweighs the latter and, and Christy Reece provides readers an excellent read.

--Thea Davis

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